When Should You Update Your Phone?
We just gave a quick rundown on what Apple is up to with their phones which includes the surprise release of iOS 14. This, of course, has a lot of people wondering, “Should…
September 6, 2018
How to Mask Your Number for Calls and Texts
Have you ever wished to make a quick call or text without leaving someone your phone number? Looking for a quick way to protect your personal information and identity?
In the past, you had to buy a burner phone or subscribe to an additional line on your phone plan. Before that, people would use pay phones for such circumstances (an altogether inconvenient way to ensure privacy). Each of these methods had their own issues. Additional lines are expensive, burner phones eventually needed replacing, pay phones didn’t allow for callbacks, and so on.
Luckily for us, this is no longer the case, and there are now much simpler and more efficient means you can employ to keep your personal phone number safe and private from the person on the other end of the line.
As technology advances, so, too, do the methods we use to maintain our privacy. Fancy dial codes, apps, and services have come to the market to protect you as conveniently as possible.
This article will explore some of those options, as well as some use cases and why masking your phone number might be something to consider.
Top Reasons to Mask Your Number
Many people wish they could mask their phone number when calling or texting; others may have never considered it. Masking your number as a service and technology is a relatively new offering, and largely a response to society becoming more and more dependent on their cell phones and aware of privacy issues.
If you’ve never thought about masking your number before, you may be wondering just why someone would do this.
The primary reason boils down to safety and privacy. Perhaps you want to meet up with someone you matched with on a dating site. It could be that you work from home and want to keep your personal number private without having multiple phones. On the topic of work, you may have a service-style job like Uber or Lyft and not feel comfortable giving your number out to strangers. Perhaps you’ve been cruising Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and need to contact a seller but would prefer that they didn’t have your personal or home phone number. After all, we’ve all seen or heard enough horror stories about stalkers and weirdos to know better.
Privacy also comes into play when dealing with commercial websites or rewards programs that require a phone number for validation. Fail to mask your number and you may find yourself the unlucky recipient of robocalls, spam, or identity theft.
How Does Masking Your Number Work?
When you want to mask your number, whatever the reason, you have options. Let’s explore how to mask your number:
Mask Number with a Blocking Code
A blocking code is an additional set of numbers to type in before you dial in the actual number you wish to call. Similar to 1-800 for toll-free dialing, you add the code to the phone number as you dial. While the number will change based on your country, blocking codes exist internationally. For the US, you want to dial *67. As an example, if you wanted to call (111) 222-3333, then you would dial *671112223333. The downside is that this service only works for making calls— no texting.
Mask Number with Apps
Surprise, surprise— there’s an app for that! iPhone and Android-powered phones can both can benefit from apps that either assign an additional line to your phone, cycle through free numbers at given times, or forward to your number when contacted. An example would be Hushed, available from both the App Store and Google Play. Hushed allows you private mobile telecommunications at the touch of a button.
Services to Mask your Number
Similar to apps, services assign private numbers through a website. These sites can work great for setting up conference calls with remote team members, group projects, or committees.
Remember when we mentioned options?
Options, options, everywhere! While codes like *67 are free, apps and services will come with a cost. Some allow you to choose a monthly rate, while others charge per assigned number. You will need to balance your budget against the perks. Companies that offer more tend to charge more.
What Should I Look For When Choosing an App or Service to Mask Numbers?
So, you want to mask your number. Great!…now what?
Now, it’s time to find out how you will do so! If you want to find an app or service, you’ve already learned that you have choices. How do you make the best decision? Due diligence is key! You need to research every potential, especially regarding the below key factors.
Listen to others who have used an app or service and see how it worked out. What did they like, what didn’t they like? Who is giving low ratings and why? Same for the high ratings. Keep in mind how many reviews there are. Apps with few reviews are likely to take bigger hits from a low rating, while apps with several reviews are likely to have a well-balanced result.
Terms of Service
“But no one reads the ToS!” Yes, and that’s a terrible practice. It’s time to develop a better habit and pay attention to the contracts you sign! Some companies may try and be sneaky in a ToS contract, like limiting your rights in the event of a dispute. Read these contracts thoroughly and compare them. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to!
A lot of services have started keeping these separate from the ToS, so you have more reading to do. However, most people are signing up for these services because they want more privacy, not less! Make sure you understand what data they are after, why, and how the collection will affect you.
Budget, budget, budget! All of these services will have differences and similarities, so find out what you are paying for and how it breaks down. Also, keep in mind what you can afford. What do you need to give up to meet your financial goals? Know how much you can spend before you even start shopping. You can check payment plans before investigating a company in order to eliminate anyone who is too expensive without having to see what you are missing out on.
Remember: If you mask your number for business reasons, you can count the expense for tax purposes!
Call and Text without Reserve— Your Privacy is Secured!
Do you want to set up a date with that last online match! Want to buy that bookshelf from a sketchy seller on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace post?
You don’t need to worry about a stranger having your private number. You get to have your cake and eat it, too! Masking your number is a quick, simple solution to an ever-present and growing problem. In the digital age, privacy is a rare commodity. You want to protect it as best you can.
And if you’re looking for the ultimate full-featured, secure, anonymous and private app check out the Hushed app for iPhone and Android.